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Getting Older, Road Trips and More

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Editor Manson and the lovely Paula Hilton on the road last month, somewhere outside Houston, Texas. The BBQ pie and banana pudding at Gabby’s were first rate, by the way.
Photo by Jessika Kelsh.

I’m at the age where I need a different doctor for each one of my body parts. Getting older is something we all have in common, but I’m getting there a little faster than most of you.

 

It’s been over two months since my recent heart scare, and I’m happy to say I’m still not dead yet and only owe the hospital $72,000. I’m eating healthily, as well as stealthily (can’t say no to a TOPS burger once a week, sorry). I’m taking my pills, lots of ‘em, except when I forget to.

 

I located my gym membership card under the driver’s seat when I was looking for change, so I regret to inform you I’ll be exercising again real soon.

 

Paula and I hit the road last month for her annual family reunion. Her mother is one of 19 children (!), and an astonishing number of Mrs. Hilton’s  siblings are still with us, thank God. And all of them have children, grandchildren, etc. So we’re talking thousands of people running around looking for pecan pie.

 

The town where they have their event, Rockdale, Texas, is pretty small—I’m thinking Lasseter Family Reunion Weekend is what’s keeping that city’s economy afloat.

 

I’ve been eight or nine times, and only on the most recent trip discovered there is a really cool bar/restaurant called The Ranch almost right across the street from our hotel. (The Walmart is directly across the street, lucky us, but you don’t want to try and walk there, no sir.)

 

The so-called “Godfather of the Austin Blues” was playing there Saturday night—this I learned from a flyer at one of Rockdale’s three (and counting) liquor stores. I didn’t get to see him, but I grabbed a copy of one of his CDs—kids, those are what people listened to music on before streaming—and a bottle of Crown Royal because it’s good for my heart.

 

Rockdale has the weirdest CVS Pharmacy I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t look like any other I’ve visited, and believe me, I’ve been to lots of them. This one looks like they took over the Mom and Pop drug store and just slapped a sign on the outside of the building. They didn’t even have Nicorette gum, so I had to start chain-smoking cigarettes again.

 

Just kidding.

 

Anyway, this was an especially satisfying trip. Both of our meal stops on that 12-plus-hour drive were outstanding (and not particularly healthy, but who can say no to Frito BBQ pie and banana pudding?). Paula, channeling her late great father who always said he should have been a truck driver, insisted on driving the whole way. Her daughter and I offered to help, but we both have a nasty habit of running into things.

 

We stopped at a great, great truck stop—superstore, really—called Buc-ee’s where you can pretty much do all your Christmas shopping for your sober friends. And I think Paula and Jessika did just that. Happily, there’s one right outside of Foley, Alabama now, so I won’t have to go all the way to the Lone Star state come the yuletide.

 

But I’ll continue to make the trip to Texas every summer as long as anyone wants to see me. And Paula drives. I enjoy the Friday night singalongs, the camaraderie, the nonstop card games, horseshoe tournaments, etc. And rarely do I ever get so excited about going to Walmart. Hopefully, the Godfather will hang on for another year.

Love, Editor Manson

 

 

YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS

I was away for a few weeks. Just caught up with the penultimate Beachcomber. Another tourist complaint about non-pabulum content. Don’t they realize we need an alternative to Ron Hart? Also, if you continue to piss them off, maybe they will stop coming.

– Bill Higgins

 

 

What a great article (“Lordy, Lordy, Harbor Docks Is…” by Charles Morgan III, June 20-July 3 Beachcomber). Thanks, Charles, for all the wonderful meals and friendships my family has made there!

– David C. Cooper

 

 

Wonderful place, the best people ever, and many good memories. Thank you to each and every one of you!

– Robert Weeks
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